Assessing the hydrological impacts of climate change in kerala: indicators, challenges and implications
The changing climate and its impacts on natural and human systems are one of the key concerns in the 21st century (Stocker et al., 2015). Humans have transformed much of the earth’s natural systems and these interventions also exert significant impacts on the very same resource base (Vitousek et al., 1997). Hence, assessing the impacts of climate change especially in regions of extreme interventions becomes complex and confounded due to the interweaving of both climate and direct interventions. Moreover, it is already reported that in regions of extreme human interventions, the impacts of direct interventions have high potential to surpass the impacts of climate change (Haddeland et al., 2014). Hence, the detection of the impacts and its distinction and attribution to climate change and human interventions is a key area of research. In this paper, we explore the challenges in assessing the impacts of climate change on water resources of Kerala with a special focus on the three highly modified river basins in the state. The objectives of the present study are : i) assess the extent of changes in the observed hydro-climate variables in the state of Kerala, ii) evaluate the modification of landscape due to various direct human interventions and its impact on water resources in the state and iii) discuss the challenges in assessing the impacts of climate change in the state.